Witnessing a crime in california

Legal Responsibilities Attached to Witnessing a Crime in California

Witnessing a crime in california

As you were walking your dog, you witnessed a hit and run. No one was hurt, but the fleeing car did do quite a bit of property damage. Suddenly you’re in the middle of a moral dilemma. Should you report the crime or should you pretend it didn’t happen and simply go home.

While no one can tell you what you should do, you should know that if the police find out that you witnessed the hit and run, or any other type of crime, you should report the incident. There are some crimes, such as child abuse, where failing to report the situation could land you in hot legal water.

Why You Should Report the Crime

Witnessing a crime triggers a strange surge of emotions. On the one hand, you know you have a moral responsibility to tell the authorities what happened. On the other hand, you can’t stop thinking that doing so will make you some sort of tattletale, a title you worked hard to avoid while you were in grade school.

What you have to understand that telling the police about a hit and run driver, or blowing the whistle on white-collar crime is not the same thing as telling your teacher that your best friend is jumping in mud puddles and splashing water on everyone.

When it comes to crime, no matter how small the issue might be, you have a moral obligation to report it.

How Much Time do you Have to Report the Crime?

When it comes to reporting a crime, sooner is better than later. Reporting the crime right away prevents someone else from going to the police and telling that you were on the scene and have failed to report the incident. The other advantage of reporting the crime as quickly as possible is that your memory of the incident will be clear, making you a credible witness.

What Happens if You Don’t Report a Crime?

There are some crimes, particularly those that involve children, that you’re legally required to report. Failing to report a crime that involves a child comes with serious legal ramifications. If you know a child is being abused or neglected you are required to report the crime to a child welfare professional or a police officer. You have to report the situation within 36 hours of witnessing the event.

The maximum penalty for failing to report a child is a $1,000 fine and a six-month jail sentence.


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Unwritten Camping Rules to Remember

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Camping is wonderful. Camping provides you with the means to connect to the earth and nature while also bonding with family and friends. The best thing about camping is all the great memories you collect during each camping trip.

The next time you’re about to hit the woods for an epic camping trip, keep these unwritten camping rules in mind.

Leave Your Site Better than you Found It

It doesn’t matter if you’re a slob at home when you’re camping, you need to turn into a neat freak. Commit yourself to keeping each place you pitch your camp cleaner than when you found it. Not only does this ensure that the next set of campers who come along will also have a nice place to set up camp, but it also proves that you are environmentally aware.

Keeping the campsites cleaner than how you found it includes cleaning up after your pets.

Don’t Leave the Fire Burning

California has had more than its fair share of fires. The last thing you want is to be the cause of the next wildfire. Making sure you douse the fire whenever you’re not sitting in front of is important. It’s a good idea to throw some water over the fire pit so that there’s no risk of a stray spark setting off a big blaze.

When you’re camping, take a little while to study your campsite. If the area is full of dry leaves, underbrush, and grass, hold off on starting a fire. If a spark jumps out of your fire pit and sets some of the dry matter on fire, the entire campsite will go up in flames before you have time to spring into action.

The Camp Bathroom isn’t your Kitchen

A surprising number of people who use campgrounds treat the campground’s bathroom like it’s their kitchen. They actually use the sink to wash their dishes. If you’ve never done this, great! If you have, make sure you don’t do it again. Not only is the practice a health hazard, but it can also play havoc on the campgrounds plumbing system and it’s rude to other guests.

Be Respectful While Camping

You’re on a great camping experience and want to have a good time, but that doesn’t mean you should leave your good manners at home. If you’re using a campground, you need to be respectful.

That includes things like:

  • Not walking across someone else’s campsite
  • Staying calm and quiet during the night
  • Using low lights
  • Keeping your pets and your kids under control

Following these simple unwritten rules of camping will increase the amount of enjoyment you get on your next camping adventure.


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Ponzi Schemes and California Law

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Ponzi schemes aren’t legal in California. The state considers these financial cons a type of financial fraud. California’s judicial system is currently set up in such a way that it helps protect whistleblowers and consumers from getting caught up in the legal drama that always surrounds Ponzi schemes.

Understanding the Difference Between Ponzi Schemes and Pyramid Schemes

Many people mistakenly assume that Ponzi schemes and pyramid schemes are the same things. While there are quite a few similarities, there are also a few key differences.

Ponzi schemes are usually handled by a single person. That individual convinces investors to take part in something, usually a promised investment, that never comes to fruition. Investors are convinced that they can’t possibly lose money and will make a huge return on their investment. It usually takes a great deal of time for the investors to realize that the person who is “managing their portfolio” is actually running a con and is keeping their money.

The Bernard Madoff debacle is a perfect example of a Ponzi scheme. Madoff created the Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC and was able to convince several people he was the real deal. His pitch was so good, he amassed close to 5,000 investors. It’s believed that his take was close to $65 billion.

A pyramid scheme is more elaborate and involves more people, some of which don’t realize that they’re committing a crime. With a pyramid scheme, a single person not only recruits investors but also recruits people who gather even more investors. The original person is the very top of the pyramid in this particular scheme. Most pyramid schemes involve a type of product that does actually exist.

Business in Motion is an example of an illegal pyramid scheme. The program revolved around the sale of economical vacation plans. Each person who bought into the program invested $3,200. If the person was able to sell additional vacation packages to friends and family, they’d earn a $5,000 commission.

Approximately 2,000 people bought into the pyramid scheme. In 2008, they launched a class-action lawsuit against the program’s creator. A judge agreed that the program was a pyramid scheme and awarded the investors a $6.5 million ruling.

The Legal Ramifications of Running a Ponzi Scheme

Ponzi schemes are prohibited in California. The laws that address Ponzi schemes are found in the California Penal Code Section 319. The creators of Ponzi schemes in California can be charged with:

Charles Ponzi is considered the father of the Ponzi scheme. Ponzi was eventually convicted of mail fraud and spent 14 years in prison.


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Pepper Spray: California’s Laws and Ownership Regulations

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If you consider pepper spray the perfect self-defense tool, you’re not alone. The world is full of people who feel safer when they have a small container of pepper spray in their pockets. The spray is affordable, easy to find, and legal. Or is it?

Who Can and Can’t Use Pepper Spray in California?

Most people don’t realize that California prohibits several people from using pepper spray. The people who aren’t allowed to purchase or use pepper spray includes:

  • Anyone who has been convicted of either a felony or any type of assault case
  • Anyone who has a known drug abuse problem
  • Minors

Sixteen-year-olds are the one exception to the “minors can’t use pepper spray” rule. A sixteen is allowed to both purchase and carry pepper spray but only when they’re in the presence of a legal guardian.

California’s Rules Regarding the Use of Pepper Spray

California lawmakers didn’t want a bunch of people walking around who were randomly spraying people with pepper spray. To keep things under control they took their time and carefully drew up a law that restricted how and when you can use pepper spray.

You’re not allowed to spray pepper spray directly into every person who made a pass at you. The only time you’re allowed to legally use the pepper spray is when you feel a need to defend yourself. You’re not even allowed to pull it out and hold it up in a silent warning to an attacker that they need to back off. If you get it out, you must prove that you needed to save yourself.

It is illegal to use your pepper spray canister as a projectile.

The pepper spray canister can not contain more than 2.5 ounces of the spray.

The Consequences of Breaking California’s Pepper Spray Law

If you’re unlucky enough to get caught breaking California’s pepper spray law, you could be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony. If found guilty, possible sentences include:

  • A $1,000 fine
  • Incarceration for 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years

California won’t allow you to claim that the canister was empty or jammed as an excuse for breaking the pepper spray laws.

If you’re legally allowed to carry pepper spray in California, go ahead and do so, just be very careful that you keep the canister tucked into your purse or pocket. Only bring it out if you are genuinely convinced you need to defend yourself.